BY ELIZABETH ALLEN
Los Alamos Municipal Judge
Conceived in May of this year, November marked the sixth Hawk Hangout event – and it continues to gain popularity among students. Named by the students, Hawk Hangout is a free monthly gathering that engages middle school kids in fun social activities that are generously hosted and sponsored by Los Alamos County Recreation, Teen Court, Library and Social Service departments, in collaboration with the Los Alamos Middle School, YMCA, Youth Activity Center, and SALA Los Alamos Event Center. Through a shared commitment to youth and community, this partnership is an effort to provide a safe space for socialization for the middle school youth in our community. And the good news, other Los Alamos community organizations are welcome to join this worthwhile effort by emailing Brendan Tuning at Brendan.firstname.lastname@example.org.
Organizers had low expectations going into the first event in May of 2022. It was a week after school was out for possible evacuations due to the Cerro Pelado fire, and there were concerns that the kids wouldn’t know about the event. It was held at Ashley Pond with laser tag, button making, and water balloon fights. To everyone’s surprise, close to 200 kids showed up to take part in the activities.
The next event was held in June, during Summer. Yard games and food were set up at Ashley Pond, and 77 kids attended. In August, the first activity for the school year, 79 kids showed up to roller skate and eat cotton candy. To decorate the Homecoming float, play field games and eat pizza, 157 kids attended in September. For the October event, SALA hosted a free movie day – letting the 150 kids choose what movies to watch in two different theaters. For the sixth event in November, 128 kids came to decorate cookies, drink hot chocolate and ice skate.
Evan Allen, a 7th grader, said his favorite activity was the movie day.
“I had not been to a movie for so long, it was great to see a movie in a theater again!” said Allen.
However, no matter the event, food and music are a priority.
“I like the free food; it is the best,” said Madison King, a 7th grader.